Melanoma is less often seen than other skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma (BCC), but it’s the most dangerous. When left undiagnosed and untreated, melanoma quickly spreads to other organs, making it harder to treat. At Cleaver Medical Group Dermatology, the dermatologists diagnose melanoma and provide treatments when it’s in the early stages. Call the office in Cumming, Dawsonville, Dahlonega, Johns Creek, Toccoa, or Canton, Georgia, today for expert skin cancer care or schedule an appointment online.
Melanoma is an aggressive skin cancer that develops from melanocytes (pigment-producing cells) when the melanocytes’ DNA is damaged.
This DNA damage affects how these cells grow and divide, causing them to grow at an abnormally rapid rate, creating the cancerous lesion.
Overexposure to sunlight is the most serious risk factor for melanoma. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays cause DNA damage that changes cell production.
Unlike other skin cancers, melanoma can appear anywhere on the body, including areas that get no sun exposure (like the genitals and the soles of the feet).
Melanoma looks like an abnormal mole. Moles are benign skin growths made up of a cluster of melanocytes. They are brown or black, have smooth edges, and are usually no bigger than a pencil eraser.
Cleaver Medical Group Dermatology uses the ABCDE memory device to help you recognize melanoma. If you have a mole with:
Melanoma can also appear as a scaly patch, open sore, or raised bump.
If you notice a new mole or one that’s changing, schedule a skin cancer evaluation at Cleaver Medical Group Dermatology. Finding melanoma during its early stages increases your chances of a full recovery.
Most melanomas form from an existing mole. However, they can appear on their own.
The dermatologists at Cleaver Medical Group Dermatology carefully examine your mole and other suspicious spots. They use a special tool called a dermascope to get a better look. The dermascope has a light and a magnifying lens, which helps your dermatologist see pigment and structures in the skin.
The dermatologists also feel your lymph nodes to check if the cancer has spread.
Treatments for melanoma depend on whether your cancer has spread. When caught in the early stages, Cleaver Medical Group Dermatology can surgically remove the melanoma and the surrounding healthy skin.
If the melanoma has spread, you’ll need to see specialists and undergo other treatments to manage the cancer. Treatments include surgery to remove lymph nodes, targeted drug cancer therapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, or a combination of several treatments.
Melanoma is a severe form of skin cancer. The dermatologists at Cleaver Medical Group Dermatology should evaluate any abnormal skin growth. Call today or schedule an appointment online.